Judith Ann Sutcliffe, age 80, died March 3, 2021 after a long history with breast cancer came to a close. She passed away peacefully surrounded by loving friends at her home in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.
Judy was born on January 15, 1941, in Hays, Kansas, to John and Marjorie Sutcliffe. The family, including younger sister Juanita, moved to Audubon, Iowa, in 1946. Judy’s father, a veterinarian and woodcarver, and mother, a journalist, encouraged Judy from early childhood in arts and crafts. Judy graduated from the University of Iowa with a double major in English and Chinese. She worked as a journalist in Chicago, a substitute teacher in Germany, then returned to her Iowa home town of Audubon where she started Greentree Pottery producing collectors plates for historical societies throughout the state. She also worked as advertising manager for TCI, an Audubon agricultural firm. In 1976 she and Lorraine Larsen of Audubon designed and produced the Iowa First Lady Doll Collection, still on view at the State Capitol in Des Moines.
In 1978 Judy relocated to Santa Barbara and started a business making art tiles and tile murals. She produced hundreds of murals for private homes plus many public murals around Santa Barbara, including a commissioned tile mural honoring the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the city in 1983. It can be viewed today on the exterior of the Santa Barbara County courthouse.
In the 1980s Judy started designing type fonts for the new Macintosh computers and began writing and designing books. Judy designed a centennial biography of German soprano Lotte Lehmann, who lived in Hope Ranch for many years, and was active in the Lotte Lehmann League.
In 1996 Judy met Sandra Scott, director of the Donna Reed Foundation of Performing Arts. The two became friends and partners. During a visit to Galena, Illinois, in 1997 they purchased a stone and brick historic home. In 2000 they purchased a historic stone building in nearby Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and created Longbranch Gallery.
In 2004 Judy and Sandy founded Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts, the non-profit school for arts and crafts in Mineral Point. Judy served on the board and taught many classes for Shake Rag Alley for years. She also wrote and published several books; Iowa Lyric, A Collection of Old Men, An Old House in Galena, Memories of an Iowa Veterinarian, Grandma Cherry’s Spoon, An Open Sky, Evie and Me, Carmela Ascending, and Old Teddy’s Travels.
Judy is survived by her life partner, Sandy Scott. No services are planned; a memorial celebration will be announced at a future date. Friends may visit judithsutcliffe.com to share memories. Memorial donations in Judy’s honor will be welcomed at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts, 18 Shake Rag Street, Mineral Point, WI 53565, or at www.ShakeRagAlley.org.